Crankbaits For CatchingBy Bob Jensen - June 18, 2016
We can cast or troll crankbaits. When the fish are holding in small areas, say on a pile of shallow rocks, casting is the way to go. Your bait is in the fish zone most of the time, and when the fish are shallow, casting prevents us from spooking them.
A good way to cover water and catch even more fish is through the use of planer boards. Last year in the dead of summer, some of our most memorable walleye and crappie trips were the result of using boards.
It was late July, we were on a lake with very clear water, and our sonar in indicated that the walleyes were about ten feet below the surface feeding on baitfish or hatching insects. Minnesota is a one-line state, there were three of us in the boat so we had three lines behind the boat: One had a planer board attached, the other two were flatlines trolled directly behind the boat. After we had taken three quick fish on the board rod and none on the flatlines, we put boards on all the rods and really started catching.
A couple of weeks later we were on a different lake chasing crappies. The same scenario presented itself. As the afternoon got later, the crappies moved closer to the surface. Trolling directly over them spooked them. We put on Off Shore Mini-Boards, got the baits out away from the boat, and really started catching crappies and a few largemouth bass. Again, it was the employment of boards that helped us catch more fish. Many anglers who use boards agree that the ones produced by Off Shore are the best.
I have several tackleboxes that are home to crankbaits and they all get a workout, but in the past couple years I've been reaching mostly for the box that contains my selection of Salmo Hornets. The #5 Hornet is what sees the most action for walleyes, and last year the new 6.5 Hornet took a lot of largemouth. On the crappie trip mentioned earlier, the #3 size was the best.
The number of crankbait colors is endless almost. When starting the day, everyone should tie on a different color until the fish show you what they want. A good rule-of-thumb is natural and subdued colors for clear water, flashier, brighter colors for stained water. That's a good starting point, but give the fish what they want.
Another good rule-of-thumb: Use a landing net and have a needle-nose in the boat to safely and quickly land and unhook all the fish you'll be catching.
Crankbaits catch fish. Find out for yourself next time you're on the water.